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1st September 2011
John Rushforth, Health Nurse
Yo! As the kids are getting ready to return to school, it’s a good time to reinforce the need for bike helmet use. Head injuries can obviously be fatal and even non-fatal injuries can result in lifelong personality changes and symptoms. As we are seeing in hockey and other professional sports, the cumulative effect of a number of smaller concussions can also be devastating.
Of course a child can still sustain a concussion while wearing a helmet, however it’s like seatbelt use, the effects of an accident are much less if a helmet is worn.
In the same way that you don’t drive without a seatbelt and don’t let your kids go unbuckled in the car, consider making it a rule in your house that they don’t ride their bikes without a helmet.
Most bumps to the head are mild and don’t require hospitalization. However if your child or family member has any of the following symptoms you need to call 911.
•Repeated vomiting
•Severe head or facial bleeding
•Bleeding from the nose or ears
•Severe headache
•Change in level of consciousness (“knocked out”) for more than a few seconds
•Black-and-blue discoloration below the eyes or behind the ears
•Stops breathing
•Loss of balance
•Weakness or an inability to use an arm or leg
•Unequal pupil size
•Slurred speech
If the head trauma is severe, don’t move the person as they make also have spinal cord injuries and moving them may result in permanent paralysis. Keep them warm and quiet until an ambulance arrives. Any bleeding should be stopped with firm pressure applied to the wound with a clean cloth or sterile gauze if available. The exception to this is if the person has an obvious skull fracture or you suspect one DO NOT apply direct pressure to the wound.

Here’s hoping we have a safe and successful school year for all Quatsino children!
John Rushforth, Community Health Nurse